CORRECTIONS MADE BY GENIE BASKIR TO EDITORIAL COMMENTARY AFTER INITIAL PUBLICATION
[Editorial commentary: Genie Baskir joined 'City Digest' magazine during a management upheaval.
The publication was begun by Mervyn Hagger with initial financing by an in-law of Larry West. It was then expanded by franchising under the direction of Don Pierson who also brought-in three new investors. They were all related by family to Don Pierson.
Mervyn Hagger pre-sold advertising and wrote editorial copy for the first editions, before a freelance editor was hired to supply reading content, while Larry West took over the management side of advertising and franchise sales.
At the time that Genie Baskir joined the company, Grey Pierson, attorney son of Don Pierson decided to abandon the original business plan which was based upon original works of Victorian era fine arts paintings sold as an investment. Only Mervyn Hagger, Larry West and the original financial backer who was related to Larry West, were personally familiar with the project's business point of origin at a gallery in New Orleans.
The abandonment of the original business plan was not something that was decided by a vote, but by means of a de facto takeover by Grey Pierson. While Mervyn Hagger was an admirer of Don Pierson and had made a comment to Larry West which implied that Don Pierson's son Grey was not like his father, problems arose when Larry West told Grey Pierson about the comments made by Mervyn Hagger.
It should be noted that Mervyn Hagger first met Grey Pierson as part of a 'rescue' mission arranged by his father. Indeed, he was not like his father, as Genie, being Jewish, was about to discover. Mervyn Hagger was taken aback to discover that Grey Pierson had a framed portrait of Adolph Hitler hanging on his bedroom wall.]
I [came to know] about the Hitler picture, but thought Grey Pierson was still a friend, sort of. I trusted Grey Pierson because Mervyn Hagger trusted Grey Pierson and he wouldn't really hear me when I tried to describe Grey Pierson as it turned out he was. Mervyn Hagger insisted that Grey had a conscience, [but I don't believe that he did.] I believe that Larry West ratted out Mervyn Hagger to Grey Pierson, because Larry West was scared of Mervyn Hagger who I came to know as a person who yelled a lot.
So many of the original people who were involved [in creating 'City Digest'] were normally Jewish, that Larry' West's attempt at identity fraud is pathological. [His actual surname was not 'West'.] The original investor who was the brother-in-law of Larry West and whose name was on the masthead of the first edition, was also Jewish.
[Don Pierson was adopted during his formulative teenage years. He was raised by his grandparents. He was a very soft-spoken individual and he married a petite lady with a brother who was a serving minister in the Protestant church that she attended. But Grey Pierson often took delight in mocking both ministers and believers of religion, especially when they also referenced a political ideology.
Grey Pierson and Mervyn Hagger had separate offices with a common secretarial space and a small, open plan conference area with the framed government contract of one of the Pierson Freeport documents hanging on one of its walls. Genie Baskir was in another office located in a separate building, but within walking distance of the primary office.
Genie Baskir now continues with her own narrative:]
One day I went over to Grey's office for something, and [his secretary] was there. [Grey Pierson] had his own door closed. Mervyn's office drapes were drawn, and I heard Mervyn yelling loudly and vehemently. Grey was talking over Mervyn. Larry was crying. I left.
[This explosive meeting was the beginning of the end for 'City Digest' and its original business plan. What exactly caused Grey Pierson to abandon the fine arts business plan is unclear, but it seems to be related to feedback that he received from another very insecure attorney that Grey Pierson began to work with. That individual later committed suicide.
Ironically, this other lawyer had his own office in a small town called Gun Barrel City, which was a small community with a straight road like the barrel of a rifle in an area of remote West Texas once the hang-out of Bonnie and Clyde. It was this lawyer from Gun Barrel City who delivered a message to Grey Pierson that caused the demise of 'City Digest', and it was the insecurity of this same lawyer that caused him to take his own life. He was not the last person among Grey Pierson's friends who ended their own life.
In essence, what this other lawyer told Grey Pierson was hearsay.
It began with a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington who ridiculed 'City DIgest'. His motivation was strange. The mother of this professor died and left him a lot of money, which he then spent by donating funds to public causes who in turn erected signs bearing his name to thank him for his generosity. It was a vanity kick, and eventually this same professor gave away his entire legacy in this manner. He became a celebrity in the local newspaper due to his eccentric and minor philanthropic self-interests. Grey Pierson craved similar recognition, but without having to pay the financial cost of obtaining it.]
Consequently, Grey Pierson did not want to be associated with the local magazine formula, and instead he wanted to jump imitating the full size 'D' magazine edited by Wick Allison, as I explained in the previous chapter. Grey Pierson seemed to believe that the digest style of the magazine and its price point were of a lower class.
[One reason why the quarter-fold digest-size was adopted was the overwhelming success of digest magazines then on the market. They included the world famous 'Reader's Digest'; 'Golf Digest'; 'Book Digest' and many other titles.]
However, Grey Pierson claimed that his 'standard' was [full size] 'D' magazine, and he was pushing me to create 'D' [instead of a local digest.] Of course, there was no budget [or business plan] for 'D' and consequently none of the freelance editorial bills were being paid.
As Editor I had to deal with writers who were stiffed or whose checks bounced. Grey Pierson would not speak with me if I tried to talk to him about this problem, but he would contact me to 'trash' me in verbal abuse. He would not talk about the lack of money and the situation that I was faced with.
[Consequently, when a 'City Digest' franchise was advertised in Wichita Falls, Texas and then sold to a well-known local business woman named Gayle Backstrom, she immediately gained positive local newspaper coverage for the original franchised 'City Digest' business plan. However, it was after the explosive meeting that Genie witnessed that the rug was pulled out from Gayle Backstrom and her own franchised edition. Then Gayle resorted to running ads in the same local paper in which she disassociated herself from Grey Pierson's new management of 'City Digest'.]
Grey Pierson was deliberately sabotaging 'City Digest' from within the company. The other thing that Grey Pierson did [after he took over management] was [to print] major adverts on the inside back cover and back cover without permission, let alone [not receive] payment from the likes of Mercedes or Crown Royal. When I tried to explain [to Grey Pierson] that he couldn't do that, and that 'City Digest' could be sued, [his] reaction was absurd. He thought that because 'D' magazine would have those ads ['his' magazine should have them.]
[Don Pierson had promoted and obtained additional financing for the original 'City Digest' project, after the original investment obtained from an in-law of Larry West dried up. Don Pierson based his investment sales pitch upon the original business plan that was built upon the sale of fine arts as an investment. Grey Pierson substituted his own personal vanity daydreams for sound business sense, by giving away all of the primary sources of income, and then using, without permission, big brand advertisements which had appeared in other publications such as 'D' magazine.
It is interesting to note that in 2022 Grey Pierson still believes in this ridiculous way of thinking. While he blamed others for the demise of 'City Digest' in 1982, under his 2022 heading of Other Career Activities' on his own web page, he still lists this for the year "1982: Publisher, 'City Digest Magazine', Arlington, Texas." However, there is a slight legal problem here, because the legal record shows that Wichita Falls City Digest was registered as a trading name of International Fine Arts Corporation on December 12, 1980 with Grey Pierson as its registered agent. But by January 20, 1982, Grey Pierson was no longer its registered agent and the various 'City Digest' editions had long ceased publication. In other words Grey Pierson was not the publisher of any edition of 'City Digest Magazine' on that date!
Grey Pierson also claims on his 2022 web page to be the author in 1982 of: “The Law Office of Tomorrow published in 'City Digest'." That is the very same edition with fake advertising that destroyed the business. In making this claim in 2022 Grey Pierson is still puffing himself up by claiming what was both a fraud and a very bad business decision, and yet in 2022 he is still claiming it as a part of his own 'success' story of which he is still very proud! But how could he have written and had published that article if the magazine that was alleged to have published it was no longer in business?]
I couldn't get paid or made whole from the penalty charges for the bad paychecks [after Grey Pierson sabotaged 'City Digest'.] Eventually the company collapsed.
I remember spending a day with Mervyn Hagger driving around looking for Grey Pierson in order to find out what was happening and to get paid. [It was years later when this investigation into all of the activities in which Don Pierson and Grey Pierson had been involved that the true story began to emerge.]
I went to the Texas Employment Commission in Dallas to file for unemployment benefits. My claims agent explained that I was not eligible for benefits because I had not worked, and there was no proof of my employment because the financial director had not been paying taxes or making required deductions.
Grey Pierson's abuse put me into depressive rage.
After producing about six non-paid company checks identified as wages, but twice-stamped 'Non-Sufficient-Funds', [as well as] notices from my own bank regarding charges due to them for these 'bouncing' checks, I found an eviction notice on the door of my flat.
Eventually the Texas Employment Commission (TEC) came to my rescue and the TEC 'raided' the offices of the former City Digest' financial director and found evidence of non-payment to various governmental bodies, and to me. As a result [of that 'raid'], I received a windfall of money [derived from] the unemployment benefit to which I was entitled.
Tomorrow: Genie moves on with her own story and explains how she then became involved in a new broadcasting venture promoted by Don Pierson ....